In this article we will go over the methods to customize a workout to address lagging muscle groups, where muscle growth has plateaued. This topic is something that you might have to worry about when we get into intermediate level of fitness, as most of the beginners do not really have to worry about targeting a specific muscle group.
Functional training is a great way for developing an athletic body, and for most part is sufficient for living a healthy life. However for those of you, who are more interested in the aesthetics rather than functional fitness, might observe that certain muscle groups in our body might be getting more developed than others as we make progress. The explanation for this asymmetric development is beyond the scope of this article and will be covered in the another post. For now just understand that due to our genetics or lifestyle, we will notice that certain muscle group or for than matter functional movement of our body will develop slowly than others.
Under such a situation if we want to bring those underdeveloped muscles at the same level as our developed muscles, what can we do? Following are some of the tactics to specifically target a certain muscle group.
1. We can train the lagging body part more frequently than others. General approach here is to train the lagging body parts two or three times a week, just to stimulate it more for growth. We must make sure that we are targeting the muscles from different angles on different days, such as a different grip, orientation or foot positions on different days, this way our muscles get activated in different ways.
2. We can increase the overall volume of training for the lagging muscle by increasing sets, reps and weight for the exercises targeting the lagging muscle group. Best strategy is to add some isolation exercises in our workout for the lagging muscle groups.
3. Train the lagging part of our body first in our workout and then train other muscle groups.
4. While choosing compound exercises for other muscle groups, choose the ones where the secondary muscle involved is the lagging muscle group.
5. Put one day of training targeted only for the lagging muscle group. This will be in addition to the regular workout, which targets all the major muscle groups in our body.
6. Training our lagging muscle group to failure is a really effective way to stimulate them to grow. One of the best strategies here is to do negative sets as the last set of our workout. Negative sets are performed with a weight 20% heavier than the weight we can only lift once. To do this we will need a spotter to assist in doing the positive part of the repetition.
7. More advanced training techniques such as 100 reps, pre-exhaustion etcetera can be used, however we do not desire to delve into those topics here. They will be covered in more details in future posts.
This concludes our article on specifically targeting the lagging muscle groups.